Preparing for Pregnancy

by Dr. Claudia Guy ND

You dream about giving birth to your little one. When the day comes, you count ten fingers and ten toes, the nurse says your baby is perfect and you fall in love with your little angel. The reality is, we can't measure the health of your little angel by counting fingers and toes. Preparation for Fertility not only optimizes fertility itself, but to a greater extent, maximizes the health of mom and baby by reducing risks associated with conception, pregnancy and birth. Fertility preparation should be considered by all parents of reproductive age who desire to have a baby in the future. Prior to conception, is the only window parents-to-be have to learn how to take care of their bodies and develop healthy habits to positively influence the health of their future family.

 When we think of fertility preparation and treatment, we think of infertility. According to the CDC (Center of Disease Control and Prevention), infertility is a disease of the reproductive system and not a quality of life issue. As of 2010, the CDC estimates that 6.1% of married women experience infertility. However, the numbers seem much high than that. One reason main is that women are having children later in life. After age 31, a woman's fertility reduces by 3% yearly, and significantly more past 40. The CDC also found that the male infertility was solely responsible for 40% of cases of infertility. Fifty years ago, normal sperm count was 113 million. Today, that number has dropped to an average of 66 million. The normal range for sperm count has changed to reflect this 50% drop in sperm count. Other major contributors of fertility are body weight (too much or too little), nutrient depletions, unhealthy habits (smoking, poor sleep), and stress. The effect of stress and fertility is more of a concern than a woman may be aware of. Though ironically, facing infertility can be stressful of itself.

 The CDC highly recommends preconception care for both men and women in their reproductive years, since no one plans an unplanned pregnancy. A couple facing infertility will benefit tremendously from a fertility preparation program, focusing on their own obstacles, and helping them achieve the healthy bodies they need to conceive their own children. The diet and lifestyle steps one takes to prepare for fertility can, overall, encourage healthy habits to prevent other chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  It’s  no brainer for any individual or couple planning to get pregnant now and someday.